Guide On How To Choose A Career
Your choice of career will no doubt have a huge impact on the rest of your life. This is so because; an individual is likely to spend a huge part of his life working. This decision is not an easy one, as some careers can keep you stuck to a particular profession for the rest of your life, while others are flexible enough for change between workplaces and professions.
When choosing a career, it is important to properly find out what your interests and aspiration are. Below are steps guide for choosing a career path.
Carry out a self-assessment
The first step is to know ones-self through a self-assessment. You should reflect on what kind of work environment you want to be in, what type of work you will enjoy doing, the kind of employer or colleagues you may want, and so on. You can streamline the outcome of these reflections to ensure that your personal strength and values are in consonance with your career aspirations.
You can begin by asking yourself questions such as:
- What are my core values?
- What skills do I possess?
- What are my natural aptitudes?
- What is my personality like?
- What am I really interested in?
Remember, you can make changes to suit your career preference. If your current set of skills, values, or interest is not exactly what you expected them to be, use the realization to grow. Try out new training programs and information sessions for personal and professional development.
Identify Your Basic Needs
After having a deeper idea of yourself, the next thing to consider is what exactly you need in a job. This is to basically focus your career options. When figuring out your must-haves, ask yourself about specific needs, that if not met can dissuade you from a job. Some questions to ask in this regard include:
- What kind of schedule do I need?
- What kind of salary do I require?
- What type of occupational benefits do I require?
- What are my location requirements?
- Do I need to adhere to a specific job title or level
- Is there a certain work environment I cannot operate well in?
It is imperative to know what exactly you need from a job well ahead of time. For instance, if you need a consistent salary, you may have to avoid freelance work. Once you have determined your ‘must-have’, you can use the research phase to determine jobs that might not work for you.
List Jobs to Explore
After having an understanding of yourself and what you expect of a career, start looking for jobs that suit you and list them. If there are jobs or careers you don’t know much about, try and learn about them, and you may end up finding an interesting career path. Additionally, remember that job titles don’t always represent the actual job perfectly. While a title might not seem desirable, the job description might not be a good fit for you. To start your list of jobs, here are some key considerations.
- Identify things you enjoy doing
- Use your network
- Find interesting industries
- List your goals and values
- Evaluate your strength and unique traits
When done with this, you then research the job descriptions of occupations that interest you and make a comprehensive list of which ones you select, or perhaps make a scale of preference.
Research on the Listed Jobs and Narrow it down
At this point, you should manage to narrow down your list to only five to ten options. Then you follow up by getting some basic information about each of the career options on your list. Find job descriptions, needed educational qualifications, training, and licensing requirements from published and reputable sources. Equally, inquire about each of the jobs advancement opportunities. Use government-published labor market information to get data about income and overall job outlook.
Discoveries from this research will avail you with information to decide the profession or career to pursue. For instance, a job with a low growth rate, a salary that falls below your requirement, or even that with poor opportunities for advancement, should automatically be delisted.
Choose a Career
When done with the research, you should be in a good place to settle for a particular job. Pick the career that you think will bring you the most fulfillment based on all the information you have gathered and researched. Understand that you are allowed to do it over again if you change your mind at any point in your life. Most people have changed their careers a couple of times in their pursuit of job satisfaction.
Acquire the Needed Training and Update Your Resume
Once you have chosen a suitable job type, you will have to assess if you need additional training or credentials; pay attention to the “Requirement” and “Education and Experience” sections. While there are employers out there who are willing to provide on-the-job training, most will look for candidates who already have the requirement.
Enroll for training or apply for courses that are consistent with your career, to equip yourself with the necessary skills and exposure to succeed in the industry of choice. Some jobs require lengthy training, while others don’t.
Once you are sure that you are qualified for this career path, capture it in your resume to reflect your strength and expertise. It might be helpful to explore job postings to understand what employers in your industry are rooting for in a candidate before applying for the job.
Put Together a Career Action Plan
This is a written document that lays out all the steps to take to reach your career goals. Consider it as a road map that will take you from points 1 to 2, then to 3 and 4. Write down all your goals, both short-term and long-term, and the conscious steps required to reach each one of them. Include any envisaged barrier that could get in the way, and identify ways to overcome them.
This sounds like much work and it is. But it is much easier to forge a career path when you a certain about what you want. Having a career action plan early will save you a lot of stress and uncertainty in the long run.